Seminoles, Disney support Fla. amendment
March 20, 2018 3:00 AM
by Robert Mann
Voters in Charge, the Florida political committee behind the Voter Control of Gambling amendment set to appear on the November ballot, received $700,000 in financial support during February alone from The Seminole Tribe of Florida and Disney Worldwide Services, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.
The committee is promoting a constitutional change that, if approved by voters statewide, would severely curtail the Florida Legislature’s power over decisions dealing with the expansion of casino gambling within the state.
The Florida Division of Elections website has posted data showing the tribe, currently holders of a near-monopoly on casino gambling in Florida, contributed a total of $500,000 last month to the group, and Disney contributed $200,000. The lobbying group has already succeeded in collecting over 800,000 valid signatures to ensure its initiative would appear on the November ballot and is now focusing on a campaign to convince voters to approve it.
If passed, state legislators will not be able to expand casino gambling in the state without approval from residents.
The Florida legislative session ended earlier this month with no action on a uniform gambling bill or a new gambling agreement, known as a compact, with the Seminole Tribe. Industry observers note the Seminole’s have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and Disney is hoping to limit competition for its family-themed resorts in the state.